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Musings

The Way of Sakura

The Way of Sakura

The first blooms of spring 

After a long dark winter, we anticipate the arrival of cherry blossoms, and with them, spring. These delicate, pink and white flowers float like clouds on the tips of tree branches, and easily entrance us with their beauty. In Japan, these cherry blossoms, or “sakura” are deeply symbolic, and their blossoming brings with it centuries of tradition and ceremony across the country. The sakura in Japan have deep ties to the “wabi sabi” philosophy—the acceptance and the appreciation of the beauty of imperfect things. Sakura also connect to the Buddhist and Shinto themes of impermanence. The short blooming cherry blossoms remind us to live life with awareness and appreciation that nothing lasts forever, and almost everything, including life itself, is transitory. 

Hanami 

During the few short weeks that the cherry blossoms bloom, the people of Japan gather for “hanami”, or “flower viewing”. Hanami can be enjoyed alone, with a small group of friends and family, or in wild and raucous parties in local parks! I myself have participated in all three types of hanami, but found that my true joy was appreciating the sakura in the solace of early morning walks. 

What I learned from the way of the Sakura

The sakura palette inspired me in my jewelry creation, with hues of pale green, delicate and translucent whites, and pale and coppery deep pinks. Furthermore, during my time in Japan, I practiced Zen Buddhism, which opened my eyes to seeing fully—and in the moment. The act of slowing down, in order to better see colour sounds simple, but using that energy and expressing it through artwork is an ever elusive thing. There’s a paradoxical complexity to the most subtle shades of pink and white, and their delicacy requires an amount of calibration and refinement that is immense. 

Cherry blossoms in Trout Lake, Vancouver

In my pieces, I often use a lot of layering to bring a sense of depth. There are times when the colours are far too flat and don’t have the necessary light to bring them to life, and achieving that fine balance of depth and light is what I am always chasing, to evoke the colors of the Sakura with the early spring sun filtering through them. In my own opinion, I have yet to capture the ephemeral beauty but I think I came closest in these pieces: 

 

You can check them out on my store here

A Haiku 

I want to end this blog post about the beauty of the Sakura by sharing with you a haiku, and wishing you all a spring filled with renewal, hope, and optimism! 

 

 

Cherry blossoms having shed their flower bodies

are folded in 

among the fine gravel

where people walk 

 

Okamoto Kanoko 

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